Bob Corritore was born in Chicago and at the age of 12 his life changed in a way that he could have never imagined. He heard Muddy Water on the radio and was hooked. Within a year, he was playing harmonica and collecting blues records. Bob got to see and play with a lot of the greats and if you listen to his playing, he was a good student and did his homework. I know that you hear it said of a lot of players that they are a amazing harmonica player but in Bob’s case that is no exaggeration. What sets Bob apart from other players is the fact that he is very aware of what is going on around him on the bandstand. Bob has a real sense and respect for his fellow musicians and he says as much with what he plays as with the spaces that gaps that he leaves for other players. Bob is tuned into the music on a level that is a joy to watch and to listen to. There are times that he steps up and improvises in a lead role and other time he steps back and is a rhythm or accompaniment player and it seems that he can fluidly go back and forth between the two effortlessly.
It’s a beautiful thing to get to see and hear. He is a players player. Bob has full mastery of the instrument and it is hard for me to describe his playing. Bob is like the whip cream on pumpkin pie. The pumpkin pie is good without the whip cream but with it, the pie is so much better. You take that first bite and you say, “That’s what it was missing”! Bob musically is that sprinkle of salt or that dash of hot sauce. Bob is that little something that just makes the music better. He always seems to play what the song needs consistently and there are not many players that I say that about.
I got to meet Bob again at the Pinetop Homecoming in Clarksdale back on Oct the 13th and visit with him. Bob is a great guy, down to earth and easy to talk to. I even got a improvised harmonica lesson from him on the spot!
Bob has a extensive discography and I will include some video link for you to check out. Bob has lived it the Phoenix area for years now and has his own club called the Rhythm Room. A definite place to check out if you are ever in the area.
Over the years Bob has invited many artists to play at the Rhythm Room and they are backed by his band, the Rhythm Room All-Stars. The shows and recording sessions from Bob’s archives are now famous, and include sessions with Bo Diddley, Little Milton, John Brim, Jimmy Rogers, Henry Gray, Pinetop Perkins, Ike Turner, Jimmie Vaughan, Henry Townsend, Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson, Ike Turner, Smokey Wilson. Lil’ Ed, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Nappy Brown, R.L. Burnside, Louisiana Red, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Sam Lay, Barbara Lynn, John Primer, Eddy Clearwater, and numerous others.
Bob has great tone and phrasing and a vibrato that is unbelievable. He also has a timing and syncopation that makes him stand out in the crowd of harmonica players. Bob is old school cool and if you get the chance to see him, no excuses, make it happen and go! You will not be disappointed! Go and get some of his music and enjoy! Bob has recorded 14 of his own albums and recorded on over 80 other artists albums!
– Mark Vawter